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Possibility of a smoothly wavelength-tunable x-ray/EUV source

  1. Aug 12, 2011 #1
    Such a device would be a major breakthrough for both research and practical usage. This is not my area of expertise; therefore I hope to get some help here.

    AFAIK there are four possible directions:

    1. Gas discharge. It seems not to be tunable and could be applied for EUV only.
    2. Beta rays collision with metals. It seems not to be tunable as well and could be applied for x-ray only
    3. LC-circuit. Actually this is a science fiction. Unless doing it on nano level.
    4. Free electron laser. I don't have any information about it.

    Any comments, additions and corrections are more than welcome!

    Thank you in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2011 #2
    Now obviously you aren't going to be able to decrease the wavelength (higher energy) with something like this, but x-rays are on the right wavelength for atomic lattices in a crystal to act as a diffraction grating. In that case, might it be possible to tune the wavelength using a crystal as a diffraction grating in a manner similar to that done in spectrophotometers?
  4. Aug 14, 2011 #3
    Interesting approach! I wonder whether any realization of your idea already exists...

    So, basically, you are talking about using a classic x-ray source (or even EUV?) along with some cristal which is supposed to allow altering of the original wavelength. The only problem here is efficiency, because the result of such a diffraction will consist of rays of other wavelengths too.
  5. Aug 14, 2011 #4
    Absolutely. This is the approach often used in spectrophotometers: you break the light up into a rainbow and use a narrow slit to select a very specific wavelength range. That said, for a spectrophotometer you don't need to worry about the efficiency (obviously most of your light's energy is wasted). Are you in a situation where that matters?
  6. Aug 15, 2011 #5
  7. Aug 15, 2011 #6
    Oh yeah, you could only really separate out the light and select a wavelength if all of the wavelengths were present in the first place. Unfortunately, for a good intense beam of the full spectrum of x-rays, that pretty much leaves you using a synchrotron for your light source (from Brehmsstrahlung radiation).
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